It’s not bad. It’s not good. –
The Jewel Master series has seen a several incarnations on a few different systems throughout the last few years with the biggest push from Storm City Games on the original DS handheld. Jewel Master: Cradle of Egypt 2 3D is basically the same game as the original DS version that was released last year only with poorly implemented stereoscopic 3D support. Instead of simply porting this game to Nintendo’s latest handheld without adding any new features, Rising Star should have offered this title for a discounted price exclusively through the Nintendo eShop instead of offering a full retail release with budget retail price.
Gameplay remains the same. A uniquely shaped grid-based gameboard is filled with symbols and it is up to the player to match three of a kind to make pieces disappear only be refilled with new pieces. The goal is to make pieces disappear on specific tiles in a shorter amount of time to yield a higher score. Along the way, underdeveloped and random power-ups make clearing pieces a little easier while traps offer up more a challenge. Starting off easy, later levels can feature some frustrating spikes of difficulty.
Overall the gameplay works it just isn’t engaging. Puzzle Quest, for example, added a ton of strategy to the tried-but-true match-three gameplay. Cradle of Egypt 2 mimics this task of collecting the right pieces like Puzzle Quest but doesn’t do anything solid with them. Eventually new structures will be built thanks to types of collected pieces to tie in the tacky Egyptian theme but they do not alter gameplay in anyway. The idea is there but fails to materialize into anything substantial. Without anything substantial coming out of making 100’s of combos, gameplay starts to feel like work pretty quickly. Even when new structures are created, the player is forced to watch a horribly pixelated gif of slaves putting together the finishing touches, another byproduct of being directly ported from the lower resolution original DS.
Despite its shortcomings and lack of overall incentive, Cradle of Egypt 2 3D is still a playable game and can offer an hour or two of entertainment. It doesn’t really do anything wrong but doesn’t really do anything above average. There are definitely better match-3 puzzlers out there but Jewel Master stands firm at middle-of-the-road quality.
Not As Good As: Bejeweled 3
On Par With: Jewel Master Egypt or Cradle of Athena
Wait For It: a deep discount of the digital eShop version
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com